Below I have the trailer for Tyson, James Toback’s documentary on the life of Mike Tyson. Toback is a bit of a journeyman hack, a guy who has floated around for three decades, mostly on the fuel of some bad ideas tinged with controversy and mostly bad movies (Two Girls and a Guy was terrible; The Pick-Up Artist was decent). He also wrote Bugsy, although I’m not sure that’s something that looks great on a resume, either.
Tyson looks riveting; Mike Tyson certainly has had a compelling life, and the documentary was very well received at Cannes last year (it won the Knockout Award). But I’m nevertheless troubled by the angle that Toback seems to be taking here. It looks like he’s trying to humanize Mike Tyson, and with all due respect to his former boxing glory, this is a man that doesn’t really deserve to be humanized anymore. He’s had multiple opportunities to turn his life around, and each time — it seems — he’s managed to make a mockery of those who put their faith in him. Maybe you can dismiss some of his worst behavior on youth, but Mike Tyson is not a person that deserves to have his reputation rehabilitated, nor an opportunity to excuse his earlier misdeeds without some decent cross examination.
But maybe that’s just me.